Kimberly-Clark reported sales grew 2% to reach $5.2 billion in 2011. Among the highlights was a 7% increase in international sales. “We delivered solid improvements in organic sales, adjusted operating profit margins and adjusted earnings per share in the fourth quarter despite a continued challenging environment,” says CEO Thomas Falk. “Reflecting on the full year, bottom-line results were somewhat below our original goal for the year, mostly due to higher-than-expected cost inflation and soft demand in portions of the developed markets. Nonetheless, we introduced successful product innovations, executed targeted growth initiatives and improved our market position in several businesses.”
Sales in the personal care segment increased 2%, while operating profits decreased 19% to $341 million. Despite benefits from sales growth and cost savings, segment operating profits declined, primarily due to input cost inflation, lower production volumes and increased marketing, research and general expenses.
Sales in North America decreased about 5%. Sales volumes declined more than 3% and changes in net selling prices reduced sales by approximately 1% as benefits from selling price increases in infant and child care were more than offset by increased promotional activity. Infant and child care volumes were each down in the high single digits, reflecting category declines, the near-term impact of count reductions in infant care, competitive promotional activity and consumer trade-down in child care. Baby wipe volumes were off in the mid-single digits compared to double-digit growth in the prior year, while feminine care volumes were down slightly. Volumes rose in the mid-single digits in adult care with market share growth and gains caused by the introduction of new Poise Hourglass Shape Pads.